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Red Deer Rebels dominant in 6-1 win over Raiders

Rebels get 17th win of the season
Red Deer Rebels forward Jace Isley skates down ice alongside Prince Albert Raiders forward Justice Christensen Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Western Hockey League action. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Rebels 6 Raiders 1

Saturday night’s result from the Peavey Mart Centrium was just what the doctor ordered for the Red Deer Rebels.

After losing seven out of the last eight games, the Rebels fired on all cylinders offensively, defeating the Prince Albert Raiders 6-1.

Head coach Steve Konowalchuk said it was a great effort from the start.

“Every player was engaged, sharp and on the same game plan,” he said. “We talked yesterday wanting to get a little bit more predictable so we could play with more speed and I thought for the most part we did that.”

“It’s been a frustrating stretch where there has been some pretty good hockey at times but not getting the results. Today was really nice to see everybody go out and play that way… It’s fun for everybody when everybody’s into it like that.”

The Rebels took the lead in the first period on a fancy passing play when forward Kai Uchacz was left all alone and fired in a one-timer from in front of the net on the powerplay. Forward Kalan Lind fed Uchacz the puck with a between-the-legs pass with his back turned to him for Uchacz’s 18th goal of the season.

Minutes later on a Jace Isley-led offensive rush, forward Ollie Josephson and Isley capitalized on the give-and-go. Once Isley gave the puck to Josephson, he passed it in front of the net and Isley redirected it in past the goaltender.

With the opening frame coming to a close forward Frantisek Formanek showed off his silky mitts and buried a breakaway attempt off the stretch pass from Talon Brigley. With that tally, the Rebels headed into the middle frame with a 3-0 lead.

With four minutes left in the second period, forward Arjun Bawa scored his first of the season. While Bawa was cutting to the net, defenceman Jace Weir threw the puck on the net and Bawa redirected it past the goaltender.

In the closing seconds of the frame, Lind capped off a pretty passing play on the powerplay for his fifth of the year to extend the Rebels’ lead 5-0.

Forward Jhett Larson wasted no time in the final frame getting the Rebels back on the board. Just 42 seconds in, Larson fired in a one-timer shot from the top of the circle off the feed from Dwayne Jean Jr.

Midway through the period, the Raiders spoiled Rebels goaltender Rhett Stoesser’s shutout with a goal from former Rebel forward Keaton Sorensen.

Captain Jayden Grubbe said tonight they played the right way and it felt good to get the win.

“That’s how we play. We outwork teams, we get on their defence, and we play a fast game. That’s how we need to play to win so that’s kind of our recipe going into every game,” Grubbe said.

Konowalchuk added it was great for a lot of the players to get involved and added they were ready from the start.

“We played a pretty strong game but … I thought our guys when there were mistakes they were backchecking, blocking shots when they needed to and just that little extra to put you over the top and it was good to see,” he said.

“Now we’ve got to enjoy it for half hour here get some dinner and we’re right back at it tomorrow.”

Ahead of Saturday’s game, the coaching staff shuffled the lines a bit. Bawa and Brigley were promoted to the third line and Craig Armstrong played on the top line alongside Isley and Grubbe.

Konowalchuk said his thought process was to blend the lines and previosuly stressed that all lines needed to bring their best game.

“There’s no room for passengers, you’re all playing. Don’t let the other guy down and everybody was ready to go. I was able to play the four lines all night and it’s just a good feeling as a coach when everybody is going. I know the players must feel good about it as well.”

Red Deer Rebels captain Jayden Grubbe looks to pass the puck put is guarded by a Prince Albert Raiders defenceman in the offensive zone in WHL action Saturday night at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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